Back in 1989, Hal Mumme and Mike Leach created the Air Raid offense WSU runs together. Now, it’s Air Raid vs. Air Raid as Leach and Mumme’s son, Nevada offensive coordinator Matt Mumme, battle head-to-head in Pullman
Forget the bookies, odds makers, TV analysts, and heck, maybe even the players themselves.
The man who might have the most intimate knowledge of both offenses in 18th-ranked Washington State’s final non-conference game against Nevada resides 2,000 miles southeast of Pullman, in the town of Jackson, Miss.
Hal Mumme created the Air Raid offense with WSU head coach Mike Leach, and fathered, mentored and trained Nevada offensive coordinator Matt Mumme, his son. For him, this game is a must-see matchup for the ages.
These days, Mumme is the head football coach at Division III Belhaven University.
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So while he won’t be at the game in Pullman on Saturday – the Belhaven Blazers play on the road at East Texas Baptist University that same evening – Mumme hopes to get done with his post-game duties in time to plop down in front of a television somewhere and watch his son try to out-duel his longtime friend and right hand man, Leach.
Mumme talks to both men weekly, texting them regularly, and exchanging film and ideas, and he’s excited to watch his two former lieutenants try to outduel each other on the Palouse.
“We compare notes a lot,” Mumme says. “It’s an unusual situation that they’re actually playing each other.”
As coaches and playcallers, Leach and Matt Mumme are more similar than different, Hal Mumme says, but they each have their quirks and there are little nuances between their offenses.
From the viewpoint of someone who knows both play-callers better than anyone in the business, here’s how the Air Raid began, and how the Cougars and Wolf Pack’s offensive systems compare.
Origins of the Air Raid
Mumme’s relationship with Leach dates back to 1989, when he hired the 27-year-old unknown commodity to coach his offensive line at NAIA Iowa Wesleyan.
Back then, Mumme was still tweaking with the innovative offensive system that he’d designed based in part on LaVell Edwards’ system at BYU, and in part on Bill Walsh’s West Coast offense. Leach joined his staff, and Mumme realized he’d found a kindred spirit.
His new assistant coach was naturally inquisitive, loved history as much as Mumme did, and was as intrigued by…